"For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill." - Sun Tzu
This is not the post you think it is. It doesn't discuss any specific encounter or battle. It isn't Rifter versus Rifter or anything even vaguely resembling that. This is a post about good fights though. It's a post about why every fight is a good fight - for someone.
I've recently read some posts about the use of warp-core stabilizers in faction war. You may have as well. In fact, there have been some spin-off posts about the subject. I'd link them but I don't want you to think of this as a spin-off post. It really isn't. It is something I've thought about for years and the latest discussions only served to prompt me into allowing my thoughts to bleed out onto this virtual page.
Good fight, gf for short: what is it exactly? The common definition implies it is combat where either combatant has a roughly equal chance of destroying the other. It's a toss up. It can be one versus one or it can be fleet versus fleet. So long as both sides feel they can win, it's a good fight.
But that's ridiculous. At what point would I ever knowingly want to engage in a fight where I was not assured victory? I don't care that EVE Online is only a game. I don't care that capsuleers are basically immortal. All I care about is winning, or more accurately not losing.
Why isn't that philosophy lauded in New Eden? That's the best philosophy for winning a fight. Don't give the other guy a chance. If you can drop a bomb on him from a safe distance, do it. In fact, as Sun Tzu said, the best victory is the one in which you don't have to fight. Unnecessary risk is just that, unnecessary. So why not congratulate those who manage it - like the guy who, hopelessly outgunned, knew that he was at a disadvantage and planned appropriately to avoid getting squashed? Did not Sun Tzu also advise, "He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious."
Yet those who live to fight another day are put down. Goonswarm gets handed a ration of shit because they blob. Brave Newbies blob, and though they don't get as much shit shoveled their way, I've read some fairly critical stuff about what they do. We can throw e-war users into that pot as well. Since I began playing Eve Online those who use e-war have been reviled. Now there is the warp-core stabilization "controversy."
Look, the guy found a great way to get what he wanted without getting blown up. It's fracking brilliant. And all some can do is lambaste him for not giving the "good fight?" Get real. In the game of winners and losers, the only thing that matters in not waking up in a clone vat. And yet, there is this culture within EVE Online that feels we owe other capsuleers their ideal of a good fight.
No, I don't. I don't owe other capsuleers anything. What they really want is that I validate their ideal of game play while making mine subservient. What they want me to do is play the game their way instead of my way. What a bloody sense of entitlement that requires. They aren't entitled to anything and especially at my expense. In fact, they are entitled to nothing from me whether at my expense or not.
So why do they feel they are? Why do they tell me, sometimes heatedly, that undocking is consent to PvP and then ridicule me when I prevent them from blowing me up? Isn't my avoiding destruction also a PvP victory because it obviated their desired outcome? I'll wager Sun Tzu would think it is.
But time and time again I read posts by those who feel they were "cheated" out of a good fight - or worse yet - a kill mail. Wow, they really need to re-examine their own position. It is really no different than the average carebear feeling they have a right to mine unmolested and without risk in high-sec. Those who are so quick to point out that is not "the nature" of Eve Online, are so quick to cry foul when their own sense of entitlement is thwarted.
Perhaps entitlement is too strong a word, but you really can't deny they feel strongly the game should be played their way. And that just isn't how it works folks no matter how much you may want it to. That way of thinking really is no different than a carebear wanting a no-PvP flag so he won't be popped. You may be opposite sides of the coin, but you're still on the same chunk of metal.
What it all boils down to is we all want to win, but we all define winning differently. I win by not losing assets. Others feel they win by destroying my assets. When they do so, it was a good fight for them. When I thwart them, it's a good fight for me. Would it really harm the game for them to say so? I don't think it would; quite the opposite in fact. Inclusiveness can only make Eve Online stronger.